In the fifteenth post of the Friends & Christianity series, we are going to look at The One With the Stoned Guy. In this episode, both Monica and Chandler are chasing after their dreams. Chandler is trying to find his dream, and Monica is trying to finally make her big break by becoming a head chef.
The episode opens with Chandler getting a promotion but turning it down because data processing was just supposed to be a temp job…
Chandler: If I took this promotion, it’d be like admitting that this is what I actually do.
Phoebe: So was it a lot more money?
Chandler: It doesn’t matter. I just don’t want to be one of those guys that’s in his office until twelve o’clock at night worrying about the WENUS.
[Everyone looks at him, confused.]
Rachel: … the WENUS?
Chandler: Weekly Estimated Net Usage Statistics. A processing term.
Rachel: Oh. That WENUS.
Joey: So what’re you going to do?
Chandler: I don’t know. That’s the thing. I don’t know what I want to do. I just know I’m not going to figure it out working there.
Chandler uses his first unemployed day to go see a career counselor…
Chandler: Well, I have an appointment to see Dr. Robert Pillman, career counselor a-gogo. I added the “a-gogo”.
Rachel: Work counselor?
Chandler: Hey, you guys all know what you want to do.
Rachel: I don’t!
Chandler: Hey, you guys in the living room all know what you want to do. You know, you have goals. You have dreams. I don’t have a dream.
Ross: Ah, the lesser-known “I don’t have a dream” speech.
Chandler enthusiastically goes to his appointment and then returns to Monica’s apartment, where feast-making and taste-testing is under way…
Chandler: Eight and a half hours of aptitude tests, intelligence tests, personality tests… and what do I learn? “You are ideally suited for a career in data processing for a large multinational corporation.”
Phoebe: That’s so great! ‘Cause you already know how to do that!
Chandler: Can you believe it? I mean, don’t I seem like somebody who should be doing something really cool? You know, I just always pictured myself doing something… something.
Meanwhile, thanks to Phoebe, Monica lands an audition for a head chef position at a new, up-and-coming restaurant—and she puts her all into prepping a fantastic meal. But when the restaurant owner shows up, he is stoned. To the point he asks Monica to make boxed mac-n-cheese rather than the fancy meal she’s spent hours (days) preparing for him. The meal she’s staked her hopes and dreams on.
Monica: That’s it! Dinner is over!
Monica: Why? It’s just that I’ve waited seven years for an opportunity like this, and you can’t even wait four and a half minutes for a stupid onion tartlet?
Steve proceeds to attempt to eat a magnet. The girls have to take him to the hospital. They leave him there and go to the coffee shop to commiserate. But, Chandler has a bit of a different outcome…
Joey: Hey Chandler, while you were sleeping that guy from your old job called again.
Joey: And again, and again, and again… [phone rings, he answers] Hello? [hands phone to Chandler] And again.
Chandler: [on phone] Hey Mr. Kostelic! How’s life on the fifteenth floor?… Yeah, I miss you too. Yeah, it’s a lot less satisfying to steal pens from your own home, you know?… Well, that’s very generous… [“Your dream, your dream,” Joey & Ross whisper in the background] …er, but look, this isn’t about the money. I need something that’s more than a job. I need something I can really care about…. And that’s on top of the yearly bonus structure you mentioned earlier?… Look, Al, Al… I’m not playing hardball here, okay? This is not a negotiation, this is a rejection!…. No! No! No, stop saying numbers! I’m telling you, you’ve got the wrong guy! You’ve got the wrong guy! I’ll see you on Monday! [slams the phone down]
Monica ends up back at her same restaurant job awaiting the same big break. Chandler ends up back at his same job, but with a promotion, significant raise, and his own office. They both have to embrace where they are in their journeys and push onward.
Their stories remind me of two Bible stories. One is that of Joseph, who did have a dream (given to him by God). And the other is David, who was anointed for a glorious future. Joseph dreamt that one day, though he was the second youngest of twelve brothers, that his brothers and father would one day bow before him. Between the time of his dream and the fulfillment passed many harsh and difficult years. Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of trying to rape a woman, thrown in prison, forgotten by those he helped, and then, finally, brought out of prison and made the most powerful many in Egypt besides Pharaoh. All the while, Joseph kept working as unto the Lord and not to man. He kept using the gift God placed in him, and eventually that gift was noticed.
David, at thirteen, was anointed as king. The problem—there was already a king, and he was not about to hand over his power and position to a kid he wasn’t even related to. So David served the man who was in the position he’d been anointed for by God. He served his family. He served the people. He even lived as an exile for many years as the king tried to kill him and even married his wife off to another man. All the while, David cried out to God asking him when he could stop living as an exile. When would he actually become king. It took many, many years, but David did reign.